Hey, kids! Have you been asked to watch the "Percy Jackson" movies during classroom time? If this has happened to you or someone you care about, feel free to share the letter below with your teacher, because classroom time is a terrible thing to waste!
Hi! I am so grateful that you are teaching Greek mythology
to your kids and maybe reading my books with them. I hope it goes well! If you
want some lesson plan ideas I have a ton of free stuff on my website
pulled from my own fifteen years as a middle school teacher.
Now a plea: Please, for the love of multiple intelligences,
DON’T show those “Percy Jackson” movies (ironic quotes intentional) in your
classroom for a compare-contrast lesson or, gods forbid, a “reward” at the end
of your unit. No group of students deserves to be subjected to that sort of
mind-numbing punishment. The movies’ educational value is exactly zero. A
better use of classroom time would be . . . well, pretty much anything,
including staring at the second hand of the clock for fifty minutes or having a
locker clean-out day.
If you need a break and are using the movie so you can have
time to grade papers, hey, I totally get that. I was a teacher for a long time!
May I suggest Clash of the Titans, or the cheesy old 1960s version of Jason and
the Argonauts, or heck, even the animated Hercules from Disney, as bad as it
is. Those movies have plenty of things to compare and contrast with the actual
Greek myths. But my heart breaks every time I hear that classroom time is being
thrown away watching those vapid Percy Jackson adaptations.
Maybe the kids want to watch them on their own. Fine.
Whatever. Personally, I would rather have my teeth pulled with no anesthesia,
but to each his or her own. Spending class time time on those movies,
though? I’ve justified a lot of things in my years as a teacher. Once I did a
barbecue pit sacrifice of prayers to the Greek gods with my sixth graders. Once
I taught the kids a traditional Zulu game by rolling watermelons down a hill and
spearing them with broomsticks. We took fencing classes when we studied
Shakespeare, reenacted the entire Epic of Gilgamesh, and, yes, we watched some
pretty great movies from time to time. But I can think of zero
justification for watching the adaptations of my books as part
of a school curriculum. (And please, don’t call them my
movies. They are in no way mine.)
Thanks for listening. I hope you have a great school year. I
hope your kids get excited about reading. And I hope you’ll consider this
author’s plea. The kids don’t need classroom time to learn that movies can be
really, really bad. They’ll find that out on their own!